The Bread of Life
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst—John 6:35.
Running on Empty
To say I’m a little scatterbrained is an understatement. I lose my keys at least once a week. More than likely the bottom of my purse (if I can find it) is a jumble of old bills, sticky notes, Sweet-n-Low packages, broken lipstick, and a few thank you notes that I thought I’d already mailed. That’s me. I’ve tried to reform my ways. I’ve tried organizers, memory systems, and little reminders on my mirror, but in the end, I am who I am—creative and keyless. Self-acceptance is a beautiful thing, except when you run out of gas.
You would think I would have seen the bright orange light flashing in front of me. If memory serves, I think I did notice something a few days back, but I was too busy to do anything about it. You see, it was wedding season. And when I say “wedding season” I mean SEASON! I single-handedly (pun intended) attended eleven weddings in twelve weeks. Pile on top of the wedding ceremonies the ever-so-important bridesmaid luncheons, lingerie parties, kitchen showers, rehearsal dinners, and couples showers. And not to mention the fact that a girl still has to hold down a full-time job in order to pay for all the china, blenders, and bridesmaid dresses. Who has time to remember a silly thing like filling up a gas tank?
Obviously I didn’t because at 7:23 a.m. when I should have already rolled out of my local Starbucks, I was instead slowly rolling through an intersection as my car puttered to a dead stall. I was out of gas. Hear me... not just low running low... flat out empty. As a shriek left my lips, I looked around to find a safe place to coast my now dead car. Right in front of me awaited my car’s destination... the local funeral home.
I ran out of gas at a funeral home! The lesson didn’t hit me until later that afternoon when, equipped with $5 worth of unleaded in a stylin’ new purse-sized gas can, a friend drove me back to get my car. As we pulled into the parking lot the symbolism hit me square between the eyes. This whole fiasco was a great illustration of my life before Jesus Christ.
I was going fast, running on empty, and heading straight for a place of death. My life before Jesus consisted of the fuel of the world: momentary pleasure, and the quick fix of a good buzz to get me through. Fueling my life with whatever I thought would make me “happy.” But the more I ran on this fuel, the more empty my life felt, and—like my car—there was one sure destination awaiting me.
What does not satisfy when we find it, was not the thing we were desiring. -C. S. Lewis
My problem back then and the universal plight of humanity is this: We have a God-shaped hole in our souls that can only be filled by God Himself. We vainly attempt to fill the fuel tank of our souls with other things... only to realize that our souls weren’t designed to find life in those things. C. S. Lewis said it best:
“God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.”
To shift the metaphor slightly, Lewis said, “God is the food our spirits were designed to feed on.” This need is easy for all of us to recognize. God created the hunger mechanism in our bodies to signal that we need food to fuel our bodies. Ours souls also have a hunger mechanism. We need God.
How’s your soul’s fuel light? Do you recognize the warning signs of emptiness or are you too busy, too distracted, and too dazed to notice? Girls, I’m gonna shoot straight with you. None of the fuel stations of the world ever fill the tank. The reason is because our tanks need more filling than food and more satisfying than any substance... we are crying out for God. And when we turn to these empty substitutes to fill the God-spot, we can end up imprisoned to them.
The emptiness, the longings, the unmet desires, the cravings... all point to a great soul hunger. When Jesus stepped onto the scene of the human struggle, He often used physical illustrations to teach spiritual truths. One such illustration was when Jesus performed one of His most famous miracles... feeding five thousand people from a few loaves of bread and fishes—(John 6:1-15).
After Jesus miraculously fed the multitudes, satisfying their physical need for food, they began to follow Him in droves. He used their urgent desire for food to explain His purpose and mission. Jesus radically claimed that He is the “Bread of Life.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe—John 6: 35-36.
Jesus is the Bread of Life who satisfies the deep hunger of our hearts. We face a choice each day. Will we feed on Jesus by turning to Him in worship and prayer and studying His Word or will we vainly attempt to satisfy our souls with the things of the world that will never truly fulfill us?